Last week, Gov. Cuomo made a number of announcements he said will be in his State of the State/Budget Address, which will be delivered on Wednesday. They include:

  • A phased-in minimum wage increase to $15 per hour in New York City in 2019, and in the rest of the state in 2022;
  • small business tax relief ($298 million);
  • funding for water infrastructure projects ($250 million over 2 years for local governments to support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects);
  • a $100 million downtown revitalization program ($10 million to one downtown community in each REDC region);
  • a 6th round of the REDC initiative ($950 million for REDC awards and URI runners-up); and
  • freezing Thruway tolls until 2020, eliminating tolls for all agricultural traffic, and giving frequent commercial and commuter Thruway travelers a toll tax credit.

The unfortunate reality is that Upstate New York cannot afford a $15 per hour minimum wage. The small businesses and farms that are at the heart of our economy will suffer, jobs will be lost, consumer costs will skyrocket and taxes will rise.

Unshackle Upstate will be on the front lines of this battle in Albany in 2016. If you have not done so already, please go to the Minimum Wage Reality Check campaign web site to learn more about why a $15 per hour minimum wage will be bad for small businesses and consumers.